Sleep deprivation and insomnia are unfortunately two very common ailments that many people suffer from, sometimes on a nightly basis. The good news is that there are several brands of pills on the market that are manufactured for the sole purpose of helping to alleviate any issues with getting a full eight hours of sleep.
The bad news is that it is very easy to become dependent on these pills, leaving a person unable to sleep without taking a regular nightly dose. But is it possible to become addicted to sleeping pills? The answer to this question is a resounding “yes.”
Why it’s Possible to Get Addicted to Sleeping Pills
When people start to take sleeping pills like Ambien to help combat insomnia, they usually aren’t intending to become addicted to the medication. In some cases, their doctors have even passed along the information that it is not possible to become addicted!
But as time goes on and they continue to take it, dependency starts to set in where they are using the pills even when it is no longer necessary – and this is the time when addiction begins to set in. Sleeping pills often imitate the effects of alcohol or other drugs, so it’s also easy to become addicted when a person takes them in an effort to numb their feelings and escape their problems.
How Sleeping Pills Work
Sleeping pills belong to a category of drugs called “sedative-hypnotics,” but are often called “z-drugs” since they induce sleep in the person who takes them. These pills bind to the GABA receptors in the brain, which are responsible for controlling a person’s alertness and relaxation levels.
However, the pills only target a certain type of GABA receptor that is strictly dedicated to promoting sleep. And because they don’t affect all the different types of GABA receptors, the pills are thus thought to be safer than benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax or Valium.
Sleeping pills are not without their share of physical side effects though, since many people report morning drowsiness, memory loss, and hallucinations when taking Ambien or Lunesta.
The Dangers of an Addiction To Sleeping Pills
Just like an addiction to any other type of drug, an addiction to sleeping pills can have some very dangerous consequences.
Besides a decline in quality of life, those addicted to sleeping pills can also experience depression with an increased suicide risk and a worsening in general coordination, balance, and motor skills.
In addition, the addicted person may take extreme measures to break the law in order to ensure that he or she has a constant steady supply of the medication.
Treatment for Sleeping Pill Addiction
The only treatment that’s safe to help cure sleeping pill addiction is to come completely off the drugs. This process may include slowly tapering off the dose of pills until a person no longer needs them. But in more extreme addiction cases, a medically assisted detoxification can help to minimize the effects and symptoms of sleeping pill withdrawals.